Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Farmer's Almanac Is Out

The infamous Farmers' Almanac winter outlook is now available to the public. It has been around for quite some time, and still receives extremely large amounts of publicity and praise. But should it? This winter is expected to be extremely cold and snowy in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, per the Almanac. The outlook specifically says November will feature snowy and cold weather, especially during the middle of the month. It also says both December and January will feature a mixed bag of wintry weather for the United States as a whole. The worst of the wintry weather is anticipated in February, which is when the worst of the cold and snow is expected in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast. It says areas in the northern tier of states could see temperatures as cold as -40°.

Of course, it is important to remember that this outlook needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It is difficult enough to create a highly accurate 7-day forecast, but to accurately predict the weather a good half-year ahead of time is nearly impossible. Latching on to general patterns this far ahead of time is in the realm of possibility, as NOAA puts out a winter forecast during the summer months. But NOAA uses more of a scientific approach compared to the Farmers' Almanac, which incorporates some meteorology, but also uses a good deal of past occurrences.

It's something many take into account, but it isn't wise to completely base a winter forecast off of the Farmers' Almanac. However, it may be on to something. A La Niña pattern is very possible this fall and winter. According to NOAA, there is a 50-60% chance of that happening. That would allow this winter to have the potential to be colder and slightly more snowy than last winter, which was dominated by an El Niño pattern. It's something to watch!

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